Chronic pain affects your physical, emotional, and social well-being. But fibromyalgia isn’t like other types of chronic pain conditions. In addition to the pain, fibromyalgia affects your mental clarity, a condition many refer to as “fibro fog.”
How do you deal with the pain and the cognitive parts of fibromyalgia? At Interventional Pain Associates in Austin, Texas, our pain management specialist, Dr. Sarosh Saleemi, takes a holistic approach to pain and happens to specialize in treating patients with fibromyalgia.
In this blog post, we want to talk to you about the cognitive part of fibromyalgia and how to manage it.
Fibromyalgia and cognitive symptoms
Fibromyalgia causes more than just pain. People with this chronic pain condition struggle with depression and have problems getting a good night of sleep.
Fibromyalgia also causes cognitive changes such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mental slowness
- Hard time following conversations
Referred to as fibro fog or brain fog, these cognitive symptoms affect a large percentage of people with fibromyalgia. There’s also some evidence that the cognitive parts of fibromyalgia may affect mental skills like planning, decision making, and abstract thinking.
What causes cognitive changes
Researchers are still trying to understand what causes these cognitive changes in people with fibromyalgia. However, it’s theorized that pain is at the root of these symptoms. Having to deal with chronic pain requires a lot of mental effort, which may affect your ability to process and retain information and focus on whatever task is ahead.
The sleeplessness that plagues many people with the chronic pain condition is also thought to contribute to fibro fog. Not getting enough sleep makes you moody and irritable and affects your ability to form memories. Pain is also thought to be the cause of sleeplessness in fibromyalgia.
Managing cognitive parts of fibromyalgia
How do you manage the cognitive parts of fibromyalgia? Holistically. Fibromyalgia affects your physical, emotional, and social well-being and needs a holistic treatment plan to manage all the symptoms, including the cognitive ones.
For our patients, we take a whole-person approach. In addition to pain management, we may include:
- Nutrition therapy
- Intravenous (IV) therapy
- Stress management
- Behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy
Exercise is one of the key treatments for managing all fibromyalgia symptoms, including cognitive changes. Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to keep your body and mind sharp.
Playing mentally stimulating games — trivia, puzzles, checkers — may also help improve your concentration and executive functioning. We also recommend sticking to a regular sleep schedule, as waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day can make a world of difference.
Fibromyalgia affects every aspect of your life, but help is available. Call our office or click the “book online” button to make appointment with our fibromyalgia specialist today.